Djokovic Enters GOAT Discussion After Completing the ‘Djoker Slam’

Wow, he actually did it! I know, I know. I acted like it would be a walk in the park but when a feat of this magnitude is achieved in sport it is still kind of overwhelming. No one has held all four slams at the same time since 1969!!

Congrats Nole! A truly astonishing achievement that comes only two days after the passing of boxing legend and GOAT Muhammad Ali. Just maybe the tennis GOAT was born today because Djokovic has a real shot at becoming the undisputed tennis GOAT now.

With his first French Open title today, Djokovic not only completes the career slam at long last but he also completes something more impressive namely the Djoker slam, meaning he holds all four slam titles at the same time.

That is something not even the great Federer or Nadal could achieve. And Djokovic is far from done. He is peaking at 29 years old and playing the best tennis of his life. He also just officially entered the GOAT discussion.

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Even though he is currently on 12 slam titles, 5 back of Federer and 2 back of Nadal, winning four slams in a row is a very special achievement right up there with the calendar slam and he also has winning records over Federer(23-22) and Nadal(26-23) now.

Djokovic now has all the accomplishments needed to qualify as an all-time great. He already had the weeks at #1, the World Tour Finals titles, the Masters titles record, and the slam titles. He just needed that elusive French Open title to complete the career slam.

And now he’s got it! But again, it is not just the career slam. Even more impressive than the career slam is the personal slam of holding all four slams at the same time. Incredible! So Djokovic just achieved a double whammy which propelled him right into the GOAT debate.

He doesn’t have the heavy dependence of Nadal on one surface or the poor head-to-head record of Federer against his main rival. There is no weakness in the resume. He is right up there with Federer and Nadal but, of course, he is far from done.

  • Final Review

Now let me do the match summary. Djokovic broke to love in the opening game and it looked like it would be a short afternoon. But then things went badly wrong for him as he dropped the opening set 3-6.

Did the French Open curse strike again? Djokovic was clearly nervous and out of sorts. But understandably so since he has lost in three French Open finals and four semi-finals, including that devastating 2013 loss to Nadal.

But Djokovic soon locked into his semi-final form and it was all over for Murray as he ran out a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 winner. Right at the end the nerves crept in again for Djokovic when he served for the match at 5-2.

He dropped serve and at 5-4 and 40-15 he served a double fault and then it went back to deuce. That was a nervous moment for Djokovic but he pulled through for an unprecedented victory.

If it wasn’t for Djokovic’s history at this event and the emotional burden of having to complete the career slam at long last you better believe the first set would never have happened. From the second set onward Djokovic played on the same level as the semi-finals and Murray couldn’t touch him.

Under different circumstances, Djokovic would have won this 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 but the win is all that matters. And by saying this I also just want to make it clear that Thiem has nothing to be ashamed of at all for what happened in the semis.

The same thing would have happened to Murray if it wasn’t for the enormity of the occasion. There are two more things which I also have to mention which helped Djokovic to overcome the enormity of the occasion.

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And that is the crowd support and the fact that Murray spent five hours more than him on the court in the run-up to the final. You don’t win slams by playing ten sets in your first two rounds. I already said Murray is not winning the tournament when that happened.

And then even though crowd support is not everything it does help a lot. I don’t like Murray’s on-court demeanor and neither does many other people including the French crowd. It is disgusting, to be honest.

Djokovic, on the other hand, went through the trouble of learning French which is something the French appreciate. I would know. I spent a lot of time playing tennis there. And, of course, Djokovic did his dues last year.

That is where a kind of turning point happened with the crowd and it was great to see them support him so strongly this year. The French crowd is very emotional and they can be very irritating when they are against you.

But they are also very passionate and knowledgeable about the sport and they are not heartless. They were never a fan of Djokovic but they didn’t just cast him out. They saw how badly he wanted to win the title and that he was making an honest effort to reach out to them.

Over the years, I have criticized the French crowd a lot but I am not casting them out either. They are just very passionate about the sport and find it hard to control their emotions. That’s the French for you. They are emotional people.

  • Final Thoughts

So, as usual, I’m not signing off before I add my final thoughts. There is always a lot to be said after such a monumental achievement and I will not be able to fit it all into this post.

First, let me just say thank you to everyone who has been reading my posts and who joined the discussion. Second, I am very grateful to be part of this occasion as a tennis fan and as a Djokovic fan.

Some Fedfans think I started supporting Djokovic only because he was winning but I did the same thing when I got bored of Sampras’ dominance and switched to the underdog Agassi who kept suffering bitter losses to Sampras in slam finals.

But enough of that. Those people will believe whatever suits their agenda anyway. I can assure you that as a tennis and Djokovic fan I am fully appreciating not only this moment but all of Djokovic’s dominance.

It is a true privilege and like I said before this is the best time to be a tennis fan. I have been a tennis fan since Becker won his first Wimbledon and it is just keeps getting better. Today was the best thing that happened yet.

I feel like I can die happy now as a tennis fan. The lack of a French Open title was a real weakness in Djokovic’s resume and he would never truly enter the GOAT debate until he put that demon to bed.

It would be a terrible shame with all his dominance and bad luck in Paris that he would not have won the title. He could still have done it in the future but you felt like this was really the time to finally get it done and since the Djoker slam was up for grabs it was essential.

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If he wanted a shot at catching Federer it was essential too. All of a sudden a huge burden is lifted off his shoulders and he can play with less pressure. He finally got the French Open monkey off his back.

Now he can make a serious run at Federer’s slam record starting at Wimbledon. Let’s not forget that if he wins Wimbledon he will have done something completely unprecedented in the open era by winning five consecutive slams.

Not even the great Rod Laver did that. That would be more impressive than the calendar slam even. As for the difference between the calendar slam and a personal slam, there is very little difference if any.

Djokovic’s achievement is arguably better than Laver’s because it was achieved on four different surfaces while three of the four slam were played on grass in 1969. At the very least you can say Djokovic did his personal slam on three different surfaces.

But the hard court surface in Melbourne is slow Plexicushion while the US Open is played on faster Decoturf. So technically Djokovic completed his personal slam on four different surfaces while Laver did it on two different surfaces, namely clay and grass.

To me that is clearly a more impressive achievement, and that in an era of players like Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Wawrinka. But I don’t want to get into too many comparisons. This is impressive enough as it is without making any comparisons.

  • How Important Will Wimbledon Be In The GOAT Debate?

Just before I finish this post I quickly want to look ahead to Wimbledon because that could be another big moment in the GOAT debate. Wimbledon is only three weeks away now. This is the best time of the year to be a tennis fan!

Djokovic won’t play any tour events. He will only play that warmup event in Boodles like he usually does which is perfect. Even though the clay court season wouldn’t have taken much out of him it is important that he gets some rest now.

He won the French Open while dropping only two sets which means he will still be fresh for the grass court season. We also know that the grass court season will be big for Federer. You would think this is his very last shot at winning a slam title.

And it looks like an outside chance at that. Since he had to withdraw from the French Open he could focus all his attention on the upcoming grass court season and I see he is already playing in Stuttgart this coming week.

If he wants to stop Djokovic from chasing him down he has to win Wimbledon this year. It is a must the way I see it. First, he has to stop Djokovic from winning five slams in a row which would already be an astonishing achievement for Djokovic.

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Isn’t it about time I acknowledge the invaluable role of this gorgeous lady in Nole’s success? Congrats Jelena!!

Second, he needs to put some more distance between himself and Djokovic in slam count. And third, if he does not stop Djokovic then Djokovic will be on his way to completing the calendar slam.

If Djokovic completes the calendar slam this year you can write him in as the GOAT. There will be no stopping him. That is if he wouldn’t already be the GOAT. So if Federer ever wanted to protect his own legacy this is it.

That said, Djokovic will be awfully hard to stop. He just seems to get better and more dominant as time passes. A total juggernaut. I don’t think the first half of the year has taken an awfully taxing toll on him either.

He is becoming more comfortable on grass every year and last year he already had Federer more under control than in the 2014 final. Whatever the case may be, it is a great privilege to be a tennis fan these days and I absolutely can’t wait for the grass court season to begin!

Congrats to Nole and his fans on the Djoker slam!!

  • Highlights

  • Match Stats

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Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

39 Comments

  1. Congrats Ru-an and all Nole fans. A truly remarkable achievement. Nice to see you still having some soft corner for Federer by bringing him into perspective at the end of your discussion. Hoping to see some more exciting tennis during the grass court season. By the way, I still enjoy your analysis. Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Jiten! I still enjoy your comments too. I didn’t forget about Federer. Djokovic just brings something very different to the court and I enjoy change.

    [Reply]

  2. Another great article, congrats!
    It was great to see Nole finally winning the French open despite being a constant victim of rigged draws/schedule during the last few years. They will do their best to stop him from becoming the GOAT but he still have the time to achieve it.
    It’s pitty that Nadal and Fed did not finished/playe the French. I see it as a deliberate decission of their team to preserve their freshness for the now so important olimpic games. Skipping FO allowed them to diminish the significance of Nole’s achievement . If he never passes Nadal/Fed’s talky of GS there will always be an asterix to this and future FO titles mainly because they were absent/injured/not 100% etc excuses.
    Nole is able to speak mist of the major tennis languages- english/italian/french/spanish?.This adds to his greatness. If for a Swiss is normal to speak several languages , a Serbinan has to put much effort to kearn those while developing career, family and other impirtant aspects of his life. Offcourse when he hangs the racket he will never be forgiven only gor bring eastern european/Serbian ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ana Reply:

    Ah no, wouldn’t look at it that way. Novak proved long time ago he is above Federer and Nadal, it really doesn’t matter if they were playing or not playing RG, we all know it, only Fedals could give out that excuse which is completely clueless.
    Back to the reality! Winning RG, fourth consecutive GS title is just GENIUS! I salute Novak!!!
    Looking forward to grass, but have to say I really think Novak needs to rest more. His schedule was hectic past 18 months or so, and its obvious looking at his legs – they are not same as last year, but more of puffy from exhaustion. I really do hope his physio will be able to do whatever is necessary for him to come to Wimbledon fresh, rested and ready for another battle for the trophy! Good luck Nole!! And thank you Ru-an for another fantastic article!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Ana! Agree totally with what you said. It makes no sense at all to think Fedal’s absence diminishes this title. Personally, I hardly even noticed their absence because I knew they were not a factor. I was disappointed with Nadal however that he once again somehow managed to avoid judgement for that 2013 FO SF which was also played on Lenglen I think.

    This is why he can never be the GOAT for me. He runs away scared when he faces justice just like he did so often against Federer when they should have faced in conditions which favoured Federer. He is only brave when the situation favours him. And of course that is not what being brave is about at all.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Toni! Yes, it was great to finally see Nole put the FO to bed. It would have been a tragedy if he never won it given what a phenomenal clay court player he is. I don’t think Fedal’s absence diminished his title at all. Federer hasn’t been a factor on clay for years and Djokovic had Nadal running scared after destroying him last year. Fedal is not an issue for him. The reason they are struggling so badly is exactly because of him.

    And yes, it is very impressive that he can speak so many languages now. It certainly is not easy to learn a new language.

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    Eren Reply:

    ” Djokovic had Nadal running scared after destroying him last year.”

    A bit too optimistic I think. Djokovic had him running scared after 2011 and Nadal still dominated Djokovic after that in 2013. Don’t forget, their H2H at the FO is 6-1 in favour of Nadal (no competition there). Nadal is always a factor at the FO, had he not been injured, who knows? Last year, he was horrible on clay anyway. Won nothing on clay at all if I recall correctly.

    Nadal is definitely struggling against Djokovic since 2011, though. As for Federer, he hasn’t played his best since 2007 (and he won’t ever again). Makes way too much unforced errors, he cannot play aggressively and hit lines consistently (something he could do in is prime??). But well, he is 34, an age where Sampras f.e. was already retired. For his age, he isn’t doing bad at all.

    Nonetheless, winning 4 consecutive Slams is an incredible achievement. He can win many many more, Who is going to stop him? A 34 (soon to be 35) year old Federer? Nadal? Murray definitely won’t. Djokovic can realistically end up with having 20 Slams.

    As far as I am concerned Djokovic is, together with Laver and Federer, the main contender for the GOAT title (if such a thing exists).

    Nadal does not qualify (dependence on clay). As a matter of fact, he didn’t even define his own era (2004-2007 Federer, 2011-2016 Djokovic (and counting)).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Eren, Nadal is not in the GOAT debate with Laver, Federer, and Djokovic. He and Sampras are second tier. Sampras never won the French and Nadal is too clay dependent. Their games are not complete enough either.

    As for Nadal, who knows but he does have a tendency to escape when things don’t suit him. I would have really enjoyed another beating of him by Nole when he didn’t have another excuse which would have happened without a doubt.

    Don’t forget Federer called Nadal the favorite for the FO last year and very few are more knowledgeable about tennis than Federer. And yet Nole destroyed him in straight sets. Sorry, but I don’t take Nadal very seriously. I just hope he meets Nole a few more times before he retires.

    As for Federer, I think he was hitting lines and playing aggressive enough last year at Wimby and the USO. How many times did he drop serve again in his Cincy and USO run before the final? That’s right, I think zero times. How many sets did he drop? Zero. I don’t think he even did that in his prime.

    I think it is time people stop making excuses for Federer and Nadal. Nole has already proved he is better and he will surpass them in time.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,

    It’s been a while since I have been able to comment on this sight. I was having issues and emailed you before, but I guess you were busy. I agree with your opinion on most things and we think a like in a lot of ways. But I have to disagree with you over the Federer topic. I actually think Federer has a much easier chance of winning the U.S. Open than Wimbledon this year. He got to the final last year easier. My reason is that Murray is better on grass and Federer will need to go through Murray and Djokovic back to back this year if the draw holds up. Murray has been a non factor at the U.S. Open the last 3 years. Also, I feel like Federer is a great opportunist and will wait to pounce on any major where Djokovic gets upset by someone else. He has so much talent that he could still beat anyone but Djokovic in 2017 and possibly even 2018 in Australia, Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. And if Djokovic does lose before Federer has to face him, Federer will put everything he has to get the job done, knowing Nole is gone. I think it’s just as important for Federer not to win majors and add to his total as it is for Nole to win majors. I really hope someone helps Nole out by beating Federer at majors and not making Nole keep doing it, like the last 3 majors in a row. If he doesn’t get there, Federer would have won 3 in a row right now most likely and would be at 20. So I want to believe that Federer is done after Wimbledon, but to me that is wishful thinking. Federer also without a doubt wants to be number 1 on the all time wins list and pass conners. Federer isn’t going anywhere. And the fact that Stepanek who isn’t nearly as talented as Federer and is 2 or 3 years older than him, just gave Murray a run for his money, shows that Federer is dangerous enough to win majors in the next 2 or 2.5 years. That is a lot of pressure for Djokovic to need to progress to the final of ever major just to stop Federer. I am curious to know what you think of this, because I do respect your opinon a lot. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I made people register to comment for a while because some troll kept changing IP addresses and sending abusive comments. During that time I received comments, so I assumed it was not a problem even though I received much fewer comments. But I’ve disabled registration again and now I’m getting more comments again so I don’t know what the deal is. Maybe it was just harder to comment when you had to register.

    I already replied to most of what you say here. Things have gotten worse for Federer of late. Not better. Yes, he is still a great player and his fans try to use his age as an excuse but Djokovic owns him now. I’m not looking too far ahead. We don’t know what the future holds. Did you expect Federer to miss so much of this season already?

    I didn’t. Wimbledon is next. We will see what happens there. Currently, no one is stopping Djokovic. There is a big difference between being competitive in a first round match like Stepanek and winning seven BO5 matches. Federer’s stamina is a problem. He has to win everything easily like Wimby and the US last year and that is probably not possible anymore.

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Ru-an,

    It’s been a while. I hope all is well with you. I actually think that Federer has a better chance to win the U.S. Open over Wimbledon this year. And I don’t even think it’s close actually. Federer had a more dominant and easier run getting to the final last year and played Nole tougher than at Wimbledon. Another reason why Wimbledon will be that much harder is because Federer will have to beat an in form Murray and Djokovic back to back at Wimbledon if the draw were to hold up. Murray has been a non factor at the U.S. Open the past 3 years, only making it easier for Federer, unless Federer is of course put in the same half as Djokovic. Ouch. Of course I want Djokovic to break all of Federer’s records. Looking at it realistically and knowing how Federer is, Federer wants to break Connors all time record for wins. I know he does. Also, Federer will be the great opportunist and win any slam that Nole gets upset in. He is just waiting for the chance. Even in 2017 and 2018, this is a possibility with the game Federer has. Look at Stepanek this year against Murray. This is a guy that doesn’t have even half the game of Federer and look how old he is. I have thought about this a lot. And I want to believe that Federer’s last chance is Wimbledon this year, but I think that is wishful thinking. Federer will pounce in the next few years in Australia, Wimbledon or the U.S. Open if Djokovic loses to someone else before. He will. No question in my mind. It would be nice if someone else would defeat Federer, instead of Djokovic always needing to be the one to do it. I hope others step up. Because breaking the all-time slam record will be just as much about holding Federer back from adding slams as it will about Nole winning slams. Knowing Federer, he just won’t go away. I don’t buy that these injuries are going to stop him either. They may prolongue his career with the rest time this year. The great thing about Nole winning the French Open is that I see him winning the French Open a few more times and making it look easy. It wouldn’t surprise me if he wins it at least 2 more times and gets a career slam 3 times. Winning all 4 majors 3 times or more. I’m curious to know your thoughts on my post because I have told you this before, you and I seem to have the same opinions on a lot of things in the tennis world.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Dave, I hope you are well too. I’m not so sure I agree with you about Federer. I agree that people have underestimated how little he declined in recent years but I do think all those losses in big matches have taken a toll on him. Mentally and now physically. Mental and physical is connected anyway and I won’t be surprised if the physical injuries have something to do with mental injuries.

    You don’t lose that many times in huge matches to one guy and just keep coming back for more punishment. Eventually, it catches up with even the most stubborn of individuals. There is new young talent coming through all the time too and then there is still Stan, Murray, and Nadal. I’m not saying it is impossible that Federer can win another slam, but it seems less likely with every passing year.

    And Djokovic doesn’t look like he is about to slip up either. He wants to win everything in sight and he is good enough to do it as we have seen. He will lose the odd match when he can afford to but when it comes to the big matches he has no equal. Finally winning the FO will take pressure off him too and he may become even more dominant if that is even possible.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ru-an, new reader here (I came across your blog a few months ago while, searching for new material, typed “tennis blog” into google). As a fellow Nole fan I especially enjoy your appreciation for him as a person and player.

    You mentioned so many salient points about his quest to become GOAT – what I didn’t see was weeks at number 1. With everyone in the top 10 older than him except for Murray (never to be his equal), and Thiem (probably years away), who will be the player to wrest the spot from him. And more importantly, when? Passing 302 is looking more and more achievable even though he would have to hold on to it through his 31st birthday.

    I think this is a cherished record and GOAT data-point for Fed, and would be enormous if Nole took that one from him.

    [Reply]

    Robles Reply:

    my fault, I see you alluded to the weeks at #1, but not sure what you mean by “had the weeks at number 1” – his current total is certainly impressive but at the moment not enough when comparing with federer, although he is already almost a lock to pass Sampras and Connors

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    He is on 202 weeks, exactly 100 behind Federer’s record of 302. He should be able to get it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Robles. Welcome to my blog. Yes, the weeks at #1 is an important measure of greatness and it would be insane if Nole passes Federer’s record. He is two-thirds of the way there and he has such a big lead in the rankings and is so dominant that it doesn’t look like someone will topple him for at least two more years, in which case he will have the record.

    [Reply]

  5. Another measure of greatness is also the record number of masters 1000 titles that Novak has (currently at 29). He has been dominant since 2011 winning 24 masters 1000 titles.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That is right Ram. Masters are just below the slams and WTF. To have the record number of titles is a big deal. And he will win many more. He will likely win Cincy this year too to complete the nine.

    [Reply]

  6. Just to add my 2 cents to the GOAT debate. For me, Federer can’t be GOAT due to his H2H with Nadal; this is a deal breaker. You can’t be called GOAT if there was a player in your era that you were not competitive against. If it was 19-23, I would say OK, but 11-23 is a huge difference. Also, it is not just about numbers, it is about manner of those loses. GOAT can’t look beaten before a match started.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The argument of the Fedfans are that Nadal is a doper and Federer is not.

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    In serious discussions you can’t use unsubstantiated assumptions. Thus, such argument is not serious. I personally think that there is no reason for any of top players to use anything illegal as there are many legal strategies that would produce results even better than illegal ones.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, like they can use a new kind of dope that hasn’t been banned yet. At that level and with the funds they have available you can be sure they explore all the options.

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    What is dope is decided by some committee and it is very arbitrary. Anything that is not banned is legal and, by definition, is not a dope. With resources they have it would be stupid to use something that is banned, and these guy are anything but stupid.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. They can use ‘legal’ dope because they have the resources, which gives them a huge advantage over players with fewer resources.

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Ru-an!

    Its always a pleasure to read you.

    As a Fedfan I began to apprecciate Djokovic because I wanted him to protect Federer legacy from the many hard defeats that rafael nadull dopal (the king of gamesmanship) inflicted on the “swiss maestro”.

    With the time I became more and more Djoker fan because I saw he is a better, stronger, independent, a more equilibrated person (and has more sportsmanship) than Nadull (not very hard) and Federer himself…

    And also because i saw it as “Divine Justice”…

    Federer didn’t has the intelligence to see that Djokovic was (initially) protecting his legacy, and always attacked Djokovic and protected his friend Nadull (from a country full of dopers)…

    For me that was something very stupid to do, and I resent that very much, and with the time I became more and more a Djoker fan, because the serbian lost badly with Nadull and always returned to the top.

    Jaques

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Jaques! You summed it up perfectly. I have nothing more to add.

    [Reply]

  8. I like Djokovic for his underprivileged background, for being laughed at, ridiculed, for “joke”, “SARS, anthrax,..” etc. There is so little justice in the world and seeing this guy succeeding is cosmic justice. I remember a laud laughter and pundit’s field day when young Djokovic said “Nadal is beatable”. Imagine if Thiem said after this RG2016 SF “Djokovic is beatable”. Would I laugh? Never. I would agree and say “Of course that he is beatable son; every mortal is beatable”.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, George. Djokovic is the anti-establishment outsider that I identify with. I love what he is doing.

    [Reply]

  9. @Ruan: Fully agree. It is interesting to note how Djokovic’s (non-calendar) Grand Slam is downplayed by the mainstream media. It is typically buried somewhere in the text and not made clear what kind of achievement it actually is for a causal reader. This makes Murray’s runner up speech (where he emphasised gravity of this achievement) even more significant. Murray’s speech was just awesome; so clever, genuine and honest.

    [Reply]

  10. “Underprivileged” background? Don’t you think that is taking things too far? Do you understand what underprivileged means in the real world? He does face a popularity issue with the western world due to his nationality but he hails from a pretty well-to-do family. He grew up in a war torn country but I don’t think his life was in serious danger at any point, in contrast to billions of really underprivileged people who struggle to feed themselves day in and out throughout their lives through absolutely no fault of their own. They are the real underprivileged. These are heavy words, and I would request you to use them with the seriousness that they deserve.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Where did I use the word ‘underprivileged’ background? I don’t remember using it. Please point it out. Also, I was comparing his background with the likes of Federer and Nadal. Gotta look ta context.

    [Reply]

  11. @Tomas Dillon: You are clueless and yet you comment as you know something. You should be ashamed of yourself. Term underprivileged is a gross understatement in this particular case. I never understood people’s need to comment things they don’t know anything about. You don’t know nothing about these people (while I know everything).

    [Reply]

  12. I said that in reply to George, but it showed up as a new comment. And was his upbringing really that different from the other two? I don’t think tennis is like football, where even starving but crazy talented children from Brazil can grow up to become superstars. You need a certain amount of money to begin with. Don’t know if Djokovic was financially much worse off in his formative years compared to Fedal’s. As I said, he does have a popularity issue with the western world due to his background. But calling that “underprivileged” is a tad too much.

    I also disagree with you that Roger hasn’t declined much over the years. He has become strategically sharper, certainly. But physically he has declined and his stamina is a major problem. His peak play may still be really good, but he struggles to maintain it. Also, I think it would be much better to think of Roger as a transitional figure of sorts. Even though he did go on to become a very good baseliner, he is more suited to a slightly different style of play, not built on consistency but short, sterling moments of attacking play. So if one can resist the attack, one can defeat Roger, as both Nadal and Djokovic have shown. He is not the kind of guy who can go on trading forehands / backhands ad nauseam. I know he managed to do stuff like that sometimes during his prime years, but against better defenders he is going to come up short.

    In brief, on these courts, top level defense will always trump top level offense. A bit like chess against computers these days.

    None of this is intended to belittle Djokovic’s herculean achievements of course. I stand in awe of what he has done (and probably will continue to do).

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  13. @George: Maybe when you grow up a little (mentally, not correlated with your physical age, about which I have no idea), you will understand the actual meaning of the words you use. I have already passed your phase in my life a long time ago, so your words don’t hurt me. Cheers :D

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  14. @George: Chill, my friend. I didn’t mean to antagonize you. I have spent the better part of my life in an under developed third world country. I presume I have seen much that you haven’t. Cosmic justice / injustice operates at a much higher level than one sportsman from a reasonably well-to-do background managing to succeed in a western man’s world. Again, not belittling Djokovic in any way whatsoever, just pointing out how some of your words don’t apply in his case. Appreciate your passion, though :D

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  15. @Tomas Dillon: I would not call Yugoslavia under developed third world country nor I would compere it to one. The point is that it is obvious that you don’t know well personal circumstances of family Djokovic in period 1992-2005, which is OK; how should you know. However, you should appreciate that your preconception about Djokovic could be inaccurate due to your lack of information. What Djokovic’s have done is nothing short of a miracle. Djokovic winning everything is (call it small if you wish) justice as he was undeservedly laughed at and ridiculed. I am pretty sure that those who said “joke” , “SARS, anthrax..” did not anticipate what is going to happen in not so distant future.

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